PGA tournament winner Notah Begay, former congressman Patrick Kennedy, talk show host Montel Williams and megachurch pastor Rick Warren were among the luminaries who participated in the Clinton Foundation's third annual Health Matters conference in La Quinta on Tuesday.
It was a beautiful day in the Coachella Valley to talk about health and fitness and everything in between. It's always an impressive group that attends the conference, but this year, the panel of experts went way beyond the topics of diet and exercise.
The conference began at 8:30 a.m. at La Quinta Resort and Club, and was hosted by Bill and Chelsea Clinton.
Former President Bill Clinton was dynamic, energetic and serious about his initiative to get Americans healthy. He continues to draw in leaders from across various sectors including business, technology, sports and philanthropy to help back programs that contribute to the health and wellness of people throughout the United States.
Approximately 1,000 people turned out to hear the latest ideas and goals to better the nation's health from panelists who are experts in their varying fields.
Last year, the focus was on nutrition. This year, the emphasis was placed on increasing physical activity for adults and children through Boys and Girls Clubs and other nonprofits.
Another big draw this year was the panel that discussed mental health and prescription drug abuse prevention. Former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy spoke about his past issues with prescription drugs and the void in mental healthcare as a whole.
"We need a check up from the neck up...Not just your blood pressure and cholesterol level, we need to check your anxiety level, your depression level, whether you're taking too many drinks on the weekend or during the week, weather you're abusing drugs meant for legitimate pain but you're now becoming dependent," said Kennedy.
"Our medical system needs to be asking these questions in addition to all of the other medical questions, because mental health is crucial to your overall health," Kennedy added.
MTV and Facebook are both getting involved in delivering the message to college students; that prescription drug use is not the answer for dealing with stress and anxiety.
MTV has launched a new program called, 'Half of Us', to let young people know they're not alone in this problem and they can get help.
"The content we're going to be rolling out is going to be just about real stories from other college students who have dealt with prescription drug abuse on their campuses," said Noopur Agarwal, VP of Public Affairs for MTV.
"So it's about hearing from students, what the consequences are of taking these drugs without a prescription and hearing the reasons why they took them, and hopefully learn from them what the better alternatives are to dealing with the stresses of college life," said Agarwal.
Chelsea Clinton also took the stage to talk with a panel about using digital platforms to promote health.
Here's a list of the panels included in Tuesday's conference:
- Health transformation, moderated by Bill Clinton
- Mental health and prescription drug abuse prevention, moderated by
- Using digital platforms to promote health, moderated by Chelsea
- Closing the health divide in the United States, moderated by Jenna
Wolfe of the ``Today'' show
For more information and complete list of participants, go to http://www.clintonfoundation.org.